Leeds & West Yorkshire

Children's Drag Queen Story Hour UK event cancelled over 'hate comments'

Aida H Dee reading a story to children Image copyright Charley Williams
Image caption Aida H Dee was due to perform in her Drag Queen Story Hour UK event on Monday

A drag queen's story-telling event for children has been cancelled after "hateful" comments were posted online.

Sab Samuel, who performs as Aida H Dee, was set to read to children via Leeds Libraries' Facebook page on Monday.

But Leeds City Council said it stopped the Drag Queen Story Hour UK's virtual event because it "received a number of concerns".

The performer claims comments, which he described as a "massive toxic soup of hate", had forced the cancellation.

He said the remarks included "being labelled misogynistic and a paedophile, being told I should be crucified and how I was sexually objectifying children".

"When I saw the comments I was very shaken and upset. I started crying, I was deeply hurt by how strongly these comments were transphobic and homophobic.

"I feel upset for all the LGBT people in Leeds who could've seen all this and feel ashamed or upset that this has happened."

Image copyright Charley Williams
Image caption Aida H Dee has been performing at venues across the country including this one in Guernsey's library last year

Mr Samuel said he felt unsafe after his personal details were shared and published online, prompting him to report the abuse to police.

He said he was only informed the event, which was due to run as part of Pride month, was being pulled the day before broadcast and he felt "absolutely let down" by the council.

Leeds City Council said: "As it was being hosted in a new, online format and because these concerns were expressed shortly before it was due to take place, the decision was made to cancel this event so the service has the opportunity to properly consider the concerns which have been raised.

"Our libraries remain fully committed to hosting a programme of diverse and inclusive events and we will continue to discuss how best to do this alongside our visitors, guests and communities."

Mr Samuel said he was willing to have an open discussion with the authority about "their handling of this situation" and address concerns.

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